Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sewing sunshine …

The month of June coming to a close typically marks the beginning of the season of intense, dry heat here in the Intermountain West. This year is no exception. Even in the face of the increasing temperatures over the past week, we were trying to avoid turning the air conditioner on until July 1. As the temperatures flirted with the triple-digit mark this past Sunday, however, that plan was abandoned. To our dismay, we found that the air conditioner wasn't working. After a rather hot and sleepless Sunday night, Monday saw us with a functional air conditioner once again and at much less cost than we had feared.

I thought it only fitting to use this blog to showcase a quilt block row that features a sun pattern. This pattern is titled "Sizzlin' Summer and was designed by Quilted Works in St. George, Utah, for the 2014 Row by Row Experience. For those of you unfamiliar with the Row by Row Experience, it is a quilting event that began in New York state in 2011 with 20 quilt shops. The event has grown each year. This year, shops from all 50 states and a number of Canadian provinces are participating.

The Row by Row experience runs through the summer months of each year. Each participating quilt shop designs a "row" based on a given theme. Last year's theme was "Seasons." This year's theme is "H20." The quilt shops give the pattern for the row away for free. Many of the shops also will sell a kit containing the fabrics necessary to make the row (of course, you can always use your own). The goal for the participants is to collect the different rows and create a quilt using the rows. The first person to bring a quilt containing at least 8 different rows to a participating shop wins a prize. I'm still working on the rows that I collected during the summer of 2014. I do have to admit that I saw a row featuring an orca whale from a shop in Everett, Washington, that is inspiring me to consider a road trip.

Back to the sun blocks …
This particular pattern combines some familiar traditional piecing techniques to create the block. The sun is essentially sawtooth star block. The center is completed as a mini log cabin block using orange and yellow fabrics.
The points are created as flying geese. You can also note that the "geese" part of the block was created with strips of fabric rather than a single solid piece. In the completed block, this adds an additional border.
The four completed blocks can then be sewn together with sashing strips to create the row. Note how the blocks are rotated within the row.
At this point in time, I honestly don't have a specific plan for this row. To me, that's part of the fun of collecting these row patterns. I'm having fun seeing the different patterns that the participating shops create. I'm also having fun learning some new techniques along the way.  As I have the opportunity to create new rows, I'm anticipating that the inspiration for putting them together into a quilt will come.

I'm going to close out this post by changing from "Sewing Sunshine" to "Sowing Sonshine." Much like the rays of the summer sun, the cares and struggles of the world can also feel oppressive and tiresome. Even in the midst of these cares and struggles, we as believers are still called to be salt and light to our world - that is, sowing Christ's love. I tend to be someone who can get distracted by the task at hand or discouraged by circumstances that I too easily neglect my responsibility to reflect Christ's love to those around me. It is even in those circumstances that we have the opportunity to do good. Paul's letter to the Galatians provides words of encouragement to continue "sowing Sonshine" regardless of circumstances …
"And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, ad especially to those who are of the household of the faith." Galatians 6:9-10